English Oak - Need Advice

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English Oak - Need Advice

Postby Bonsai_Ash » March 22nd, 2018, 9:44 pm

Hi all, this is my first post on AusBonsai and I have been finding it extremely helpful with my new found hobby. I came accross this English Oak for $10 and thought it looked pretty interesting. I am planning on leaving it in the pot to thicken the trunk for the next 1-2 years.

I know that allowing the lower branches to grow will thicken the trunk but I was hoping to get some advice as to whether I should be doing anything at all with this tree yet or should I just let it grow freely? If I let it grow freely, will any of the lower branches cause any taper issues? Should I be heavily fertilizing?

This is my first time starting a tree from nursery stock so absolutely any advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, any tips for pruning and leaf reduction for later down the track would be fantastic! Have not been able to find much info.ImageImageImage

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Re: English Oak - Need Advice

Postby Watto » March 23rd, 2018, 5:33 am

Firstly welcome and I hope you will enjoy your bonsai journey.
You have selected a reasonable stock tree to start with, it has some movement low down (very good attribute) and looks healthy. One word of warning - oak leaves are difficult to reduce in size, and so I would recommend that you allow this to grow and only tip prune for a while to allow maximum thickness and growth. Fertilizer and water well and keep an eye out for any sign of disease.
Good luck
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Re: English Oak - Need Advice

Postby bodhidharma » March 23rd, 2018, 7:24 am

It would benefit from a larger container and, as Watto said, food and let it grow for a while. Later on in it's journey you can defoliate these and keep taking off large leaves as they respond after a certain age (20 years or so) with smaller leaves.
"Advice is rarely welcome, and the one's who need it the most welcome it the least"
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Re: English Oak - Need Advice

Postby Bonsai_Ash » March 23rd, 2018, 7:46 am

Thanks for the great advice guys, will definitely take it on board. As I said, I am very new to this and the Oak seems like a whole other beast to my Juniper and Chinese elm.

Should I tip prune accross the whole tree or just at the top? and when should this be done?

I was definitely thinking of putting it into a larger pot. Can I do this at any time or should I wait for a certain time of year with an Oak?

Sorry if these are stupid questions, I would just love to see my first attempt at a nursery stock tree be a real success
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Re: English Oak - Need Advice

Postby Pierre » March 23rd, 2018, 9:23 am

Hi Ash,

And yes, welcome indeed. I have had an english oak for about 4 years, still in a large pot.
I am very new to bonsai, so please take my advice as such, and maybe a more experienced member will either confirm it or disconfirm it. If it was my tree, i would slip pot it into a larger pot once dormant, as you are in Melbourne and Autumn is definitely on the way. I would also removed the second branch on the right. If i am not mistaken, it out just at the junction of the first one, and this will create a reverse taper very quickly.
English oak shoots out on old wood and trunk profusely (really profusely, at least mine anyway), and growing branches later on will be easy. Now it's about getting that trunk to thicken, and judicious pruning now and then to get a nice trunk line.
Enjoy !
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Re: English Oak - Need Advice

Postby Bonsai_Ash » March 23rd, 2018, 10:26 am

Thanks Pierre! Would love it if you could post a pic of your Oak at some point.

I am assuming when you say the second branch on the right you mean you would remove branch 1?

What are your thoughts on the fork in the trunk (2)? Would you recommend picking one of these to be the leader and removing the other? I do not want it to develop into a big ball of growth at the junction.
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Re: English Oak - Need Advice

Postby treeman » March 23rd, 2018, 12:34 pm

Hi Ash. You don't need to do anything except water and feed the tree at the moment. The pot is plenty big enough as is. Next spring you should cut back and arrange the roots. That should your top priority. Remove 1/2 of the total root mass. Put it back in the same pot. It won't grow any faster or any thicker in a larger pot. Later on, (whenever you feel the need), Cut here.

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Re: English Oak - Need Advice

Postby Pierre » March 23rd, 2018, 1:35 pm

Hi Ash,

I will post an updated picture of my oak tree in its thread soon, i won't pirate yours.
Did you get my PM ?
Cheers,
Pierre
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Re: English Oak - Need Advice

Postby Pierre » March 23rd, 2018, 1:37 pm

And yes, as always Mike has a good point, i didn't noticed how big the pot was already.....
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Re: Ficus benjamina progression

Postby Bonsai_Ash » March 23rd, 2018, 3:13 pm

Thanks for all of the tips guys.

Mike, would you be making the cuts so low in the tree to make a new leader to get a better taper? And is there a reason you recommend using the middle branch the trunkline as opposed to the one on the left? I feel the one on the left flows better from the base

Look forward to seeing it Pierre, I did not recieve your PM btw

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Re: English Oak - Need Advice

Postby Keep Calm and Ramify » March 23rd, 2018, 3:38 pm

:wave: Welcome Bonsai Ash,

I'm jealous - I’ve always wanted an English Oak tree for such a long time now.
For $10 that was a bargain.

I CAN’T FIND ONE ANYWHERE & IT'S MAKING ME SO ANGRY AAARGGHHHH!!!!...(insert HULK emoji here)
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Re: English Oak - Need Advice

Postby Beano » March 23rd, 2018, 4:16 pm

Where do you live KCAR? Now is the time to collect acorns and plant them. Perhaps someone can post you some?
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Re: English Oak - Need Advice

Postby shibui » March 23rd, 2018, 4:57 pm

As usual lots of advice, some contradicting others. You may get used to this in time.
For my :2c: and to bring some of the earlier advice together:
No need to prune the tops yet. As Pierre pointed out Oak will shoot on older wood so it does not matter how long the branches get at this stage so just leave them as a lot of the others have said.
Pierres advice on removing one of the lower branches is well meant and if they were closer together I would agree but I think it looks like there is enough space to leave both for a while.
Treeman has given advice to remove one of the main stems but I do not think he means now or soon. Leave both to help the trunk grow then cut when the trunk is nearly thick enough. From the angle you have given us it does look like the front one gives nice movement but you can see the tree in 3D so you will be able to pick which one to cut when the time comes. If the other one looks better then use it and remove the other.
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Re: English Oak - Need Advice

Postby Sno » March 23rd, 2018, 7:33 pm

Hi Ash . I think everyones advice has merits . My advice is it depends . The roots are the priority at this stage so definitely sort them out in the spring . The top depends on what you find underneath with what's happening with the roots . If you are happy with what the roots are doing and you don't cut to much off them then don't chop to much off the top . Ie try to mirror what you cut off the top with what you cut off the bottom .if it's got a tap root I would get rid of it . In my expierance it's better to train the roots to bonsai culture early than have a big trunk only to lose it when you shoe horn it into a smaller pot . Every time you cut things off it will slow the development of the tree down . The tree is healthy so it should cope with a bit of abuse . Have fun .
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Re: Ficus benjamina progression

Postby treeman » March 24th, 2018, 10:35 am

Bonsai_Ash wrote:Thanks for all of the tips guys.

Mike, would you be making the cuts so low in the tree to make a new leader to get a better taper? And is there a reason you recommend using the middle branch the trunkline as opposed to the one on the left? I feel the one on the left flows better from the base

Look forward to seeing it Pierre, I did not recieve your PM btw

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You could use either one. I just thought that cutting the middle one will give you nice movement with one cut. But really it's the taper that is most important. As shibui mentioned, you don't need to do it any time soon. If you let the branches grow to 8 feet high before you cut you will get quicker calliper increase. But remember that you should sort out the roots and then worry about thickening. Oaks usually have well developed tap roots which need to be removed. This will set the tree back one year or so but once this is done and the radial roots are arranged you can then let the main 2 or 3 branches grow as much as you want. Theoretically, 3 branches 8 feet high or 6 branches 4 feet high or 8 branches 2 feet high will give you a similar calliper growth. You can quite easily wait until the branch is 30 to 50mm thick before you do your ''creation'' cut. Just depends on what you want and how patient you are.. Oaks are quite slow with wound healing so that's worth remembering too. Also they aren't crazy about root disturbance so get that right early on. Basically, treat them more like pines and less like elms.
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